How to Photograph Jewelry

Taking photos of jewelry is one of the most challenging areas of photography because of the size of the subject and the difficulty in capturing the artist's hand-finished touches. Lighting, background and how the jewelry is displayed are all aspects that a jewelry photographer must work around in order to create an attractive image that will compel shoppers to buy. Whether your camera is a fully automatic model or one that allows you to adjust shutter and aperture speed, you can create a good jewelry photograph by carefully scrutinizing the overall shot before you snap the shutter button.


  1. Image titled Photograph Jewelry Step 1
    Choose a background. A white sheet of heavyweight paper works as an ideal background to photograph jewelry, especially for novice photographers. As you become more skilled at taking jewelry pictures, consider using a colorful background of printed paper that has minimal text, graphics and compliments the jewelry's color scheme. Your background should add visual interest to the photograph without distracting from the jewelry's best qualities.
  2. Image titled Photograph Jewelry Step 2
    Take pictures in natural light. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are the 2 best times to take jewelry pictures. If you pick a different time of day, create soft lighting that will compliment the jewelry piece from all angles. Ideally you will have slight shadows behind the jewelry to help make the piece stand out.
  3. Image titled Photograph Jewelry Step 3
    Diffuse strong light with a reflector. A piece of letter-sized cardboard wrapped in foil serves as an impromptu light deflector that can bounce light away from the jewelry piece when you aim it at reflective spots. If you need to use your camera's flash, place a piece of facial tissue over the flash to diffuse the strobe. Wearing a white t-shirt while you photograph jewelry also helps diffuse harsh lighting from your camera's flash when it fills the room with brightness as you snap photos.
  4. Image titled Photograph Jewelry Step 4
    Show up-close details when taking jewelry photos. Use your camera's macro setting, which allows you to obtain crisp, up-close photos of the jewelry. Select different angles that show what the jewelry looks like up front, from the side and even from behind.
  5. Image titled Photograph Jewelry Step 5
    Show how your jewelry is worn by placing it on a model. A close-up, focused shot of a pendant hanging from a neck or a gemstone dangling from an ear lobe is more interesting to viewers and helps give them a better idea of the size of the piece.
  6. Image titled Photograph Jewelry Step 6
    Watch for reflections. Jewelry is alluring because pieces tend to reflect everything in their environment. Jewelry can also reflect unwanted elements in the room where you are taking pictures, such as window blinds or light bulbs. To avoid unattractive reflections on your jewelry, stand as far away from the subject as possible while using your camera's zoom feature to bring the jewelry into focus.
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  • Cluttered backgrounds detract from the jewelry's details. Keep your backgrounds as simple as possible to avoid visual distractions.

Things You'll Need

  • Letter-sized sheet of cardboard
  • Aluminum foil
  • Facial tissue
  • White t-shirt
  • Jewellery
  • A decent camera

Article Info

Categories: Photography | Jewelry and Watches